How Switzerland's cross-border workers are growing in number

Author thumbnail
The Local - [email protected]
How Switzerland's cross-border workers are growing in number
Photo by AFP

New figures from the Federal Statistics Office (FSO) show a small increase in the last three months in the number of cross-border employees from France, Italy, Germany, and Austria.


In the last three months, 332,177 cross-border commuters have been employed in Switzerland, according to the FSO data published this week. 

That is 0.6 percent more than during January, February, and March 2020, and 2.9 percent more compared to the same period last year.

This is what the FSO numbers show:

Where do frontier workers come from?

Over half of all cross-border commuters came from France – 3.4 percent more than in June 2019.

Workers from Italy account for almost a quarter, their numbers having increased by 2.7 percent.

About a fifth come from Germany — 1.7 percent more than in the same period in 2019.

And Austrian commuters constitute by far the smallest group (2.5 percent), but have increased by 2.2 percent since last June.


Where do they work?

The region that welcomes the largest number of cross-border workers (125,064) is the area around Lake Geneva, which encompasses the cantons of Geneva and Vaud.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland's cross-border workers living in France will have to spend less time working from home 

Northwestern Switzerland (70,721) is followed by Ticino (67,311). 

Only 27,742 cross-border commuters are employed in cantons of Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Jura and Bern.

In what industries are they employed?

About two-thirds work in the service / industry sector, and one-third in manufacturing, the FSO said.

Only a small number — 2,258 —  work in agriculture.

About two-thirds of the cross-border commuters are men, and a third women.

FSO noted that while some frontier employees may have lost their Swiss jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been included in the statistics if they still possess their cross-border G work permit.


Updated numbers will be published in the next quarterly report, encompassing July, August, and September 2020.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) also published a report this week showing that, for the first time in decades, Switzerland put in place strict controls on immigration which led to a significant fall in migrants from January to June in 2020. 

But despite the decrease, a total of 58,730 people made the move to Switzerland in the first six months of 2020 - a higher figure than in 2019. 

There were two main reasons for the increase.

Firstly, pre-pandemic migration numbers from January and February were higher in 2020 than in 2019. 

The second reason was a decline in emigration - i.e. foreign residents leaving Switzerland - by 14.4 percent, due at least in part to the pandemic.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also